When it comes to meal times we are a bit of a boring family really. It is not that I don’t want to cook more exciting meals for my family, it is the opposite infact. However, I have three fussy eaters in my home and therefore we do tend to stick to the same meals week in and week out. I do try and introduce something new every couple of weeks, you know to shake things up a bit at the table, but it is not always met with the happy faces I hope for instead grumpy, turned down mouths and cries of “I dont like that“. Occasionaly, one of them likes something and it makes me so happy I feel like jumping up and doing a little happy dance – seriously, I mean that , it genuinely makes me feel happy. A little victory to Mummy – woooooop wooooop!!
I was recently contacted by Tenderstem asking me if I would like to cook 5 new meals, inspired by the influences of flavours from around the world, and featuring one very important ingredient – tenderstem of course! Well, I do love a challenge and I also enjoy cooking, but I do have 2 fussy eaters so when I agreed to participate in the #tenderstemexperience I really did not know what to expect – or how Burton and Jenson would respond to eating some new meals and flavours.
I was sent some recipe cards and some colouring and educational fact sheet place mats, to make tea time more fun which featured information about each of the countries which influenced the meals I made for the boys. These went down well and we talked about the countries a little after each meal.
I tweaked the meals slightly to suit what I felt was more to the boys liking, for example I made a smokey beef chilli for the wraps instead of strips of beef, and I roasted the vegetables used in the meatball dish but then added some passatta and blended it all into a sauce to serve with the meatballs and mash. However, the one thing which I did not alter for each recipe, was the tenderstem broccoli which accompanied each of the 5 mains.
The meals I made were:
**Sticky Salmon with egg fried veggie rice and sweet chili and mango noodles**
Boys verdict – they enjoyed the salmon (a first!) and ate all of it. They tried the rice but didn’t like it!
**Baked Chicken & Chorizo Paella**
Boys verdict – I didnt use the saffron and I added some tinned tomatoes to make the taste one I knew they would prefer. They enjoyed this dish and ate most of it (yay!)
**Chicken & Tenderstem Tangine served with Teddy Bear Cous Cous**
Boys verdict – this was the least favourite for us all, the boys especially as I did at least eat mine! We never eat Moroccan food because I do not make it, so it was no surprise they did not like the flavours of this dish.
I am really pleased that I took part in the #tenderstemexperience because it has given me some new confidence to cook some new meals for the boys going forward. I now have some new meals as part of my repertoire, the beef chilli wraps and salmon, plain no egg fried rice or noodles, will be cooked for them now, things I am not sure I would have tried again yet following disasterous attempts previously. They did not always eat all the tenderstem either but they ate some so that is another vegetable I feel condfident to cook for them now too.
I am feeling a little happier about meal times after this challenge – I just hope it continues afterwards too.
For more information about Tenderstem please check out their website where you can find details about the recipes and more ideas for making meal times a tenderstem experience. You can also follow them on twitter and Instagram with @Tenderstem.
I was sent a supermarket voucher towards the costs of making the meals featured in this post. All thoughts about the challenge are my own and honest.